We’re excited to introduce you to Peggy Houchin, a CraftOptics user, a phenomenal silversmith. After discovering CraftOptics magnifying eyeglasses a couple years ago, Peggy knew they were a must for her and her business. Read on to learn more about Peggy and to view her talents.
CraftOptics: Tell us how you got started as a silversmith?
Peggy: I started making jewelry over 20 years ago when the seed bead earring craze began. I eventually progressed into Silversmithing and Lapidary work. I have always loved Southwestern jewelry and decided to make my own.
CraftOptics: Explain how you make your amazing pieces of art.
Peggy: I fabricate my own sterling silver jewelry (sawing, forming, stamping and soldering sterling silver) vs. using cast pieces. For set pieces, I design the piece around the “stone” or Cabochon first and then set the stone once the piece is polished. If I’m making an inlay piece, I create a ‘channel’, then I inlay different types of stones using 2-part epoxy, then I grind and polish the stones. I start with 80 grit and work all the way up to 50,000 grit.
CraftOptics: Where does your artistic passion pull you these days? You’re known for your silversmith skills, but do you have other artistic pursuits?
Peggy: I love working with all types of rocks and including them in my jewelry. My passion is “Inlay” jewelry meaning that I combine several types of stones and ‘inlay’ them into sterling silver jewelry pieces. I use a lot of Dinosaur Bone and turquoise, but I work with all kinds of rocks.
CraftOptics: What does it mean to you to have discovered this creative outlet and to spend time working on jewelry.
Peggy: It has really changed my life. I am able to pursue my passion and work from my home along with my dog Mitzi and cat Pearl. I feel so fortunate to be doing what I love and selling my work to my clients. It’s a creative outlet for me and I enjoy it so much!
CraftOptics: Are there any jewelry makers or other artists that inspire you?
Peggy: There are many! Roy Talahaftewa has made a huge impact on my work since I was able to take a few classes from him.
CraftOptics: How important is it for you to be able to see details when you work?
Peggy: Extremely important! Being able to see when solder is flowing, making tight joins between inlaid stones, stamping sterling silver pieces all require a lot of attention to detail. I tell people that if you are not a detail person, inlay jewelry is not for you.
CraftOptics: When did you first discover CraftOptics?
Peggy: At the Tucson Gem Show last February.
CraftOptics: What was it that made you decide to get a pair of CraftOptics magnifying eyeglasses?
Peggy: After I tried them on at the show and Jeff was so great to explain everything to us, I was hooked! It didn’t take me long to decide that I needed these. I was using magnifiers a lot, however, I still struggled with lack of light. CraftOptics gave me both!
Plus, I have a slight astigmatism so having a prescription is important to me. I had to switch back and forth a lot between my magnifiers and my prescription glasses. Also, with the CraftOptics, I don’t have to work as close as I used to. I’ve seen a big improvement in my neck and back muscles. My husband also bought a pair since he ties flies and he loves his!
CraftOptics: Was there a particular task that was frustrating you or had become difficult?
Peggy: Switching back and forth between magnifiers and glasses was frustrating. I never felt like I could see clearly.
Seeing clearly has been a frustration. My inlay work requires a lot of attention to details. Lining up seams between rocks is extremely important. I’m always looking for more light to improve my view of my work.
Peggy: I stand a lot in my shop. I’m more comfortable standing than sitting. But yes, I do move around a lot since I have a lot of machinery in my shop.
CraftOptics: Do you wear your CraftOptics as you stand and move about? Are they comfortable and convenient for you as you move about your shop?
Peggy: Yes, I leave them on and just push the optical part up when I don’t need it. Since they are prescription, I walk around with them on and they are very comfortable. I just clip the light in the back.
CraftOptics: How do you feel about your decision to purchase CraftOptics today?
Peggy: I absolutely love them! They have made things so much easier because I can SEE very clearly what I am doing!
CraftOptics: Have your CraftOptics changed the way you work?
CraftOptics: This is a business for you, do you feel your CraftOptics help you with that business?
Peggy: Absolutely! They help me put out a better product and work more efficiently, so this was a wise investment.
CraftOptics: Where can people find your finished products?
Peggy: In several galleries within Colorado and Wyoming and also on my website: http://peggyhouchin.com
We invite you to view some of the magnificent work that Peggy does. We’re so happy to play a small part in her creative process and to help her bring more of her silversmithing talents to you.